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Environment Policy S-MPA-3

Where statutory advice states that a marine protected area site condition is deteriorating, or that features are moving or changing due to climate change, a suitable boundary change will be supported to ensure continued protection of the site and coherence of the overall network.

Policy Considerations

  1. Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee provide statutory advice on boundary changes for marine protected areas. 
  2. All boundary changes to marine protected areas must be agreed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  3. Condition assessments by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee will determine the extent of habitat loss, range shifts or deterioration in the condition of MPA features. If climate change is the causing factor, boundary changes should be made. A boundary change will not be supported where the condition of a site has deteriorated due to pressures from human activities, as this should be addressed through revised site management measures.
  4. If a hard boundary, such as a sea wall, is preventing the natural migration of a protected feature, action could be considered to remove it to allow a site to adapt. 
  5. Soft coastal defences that work with natural processes are preferred as they make boundary changes easier.